Flying Officer John Harold BUSBY

Service No: 418798
Born: Parramatta NSW, 21 November 1919
Enlisted in the RAAF: 19 June 1942
Unit: No. 622 Squadron (RAF), RAF Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire
Died: Air Operations (No. 622 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PD230), Germany, 13 August 1944, Aged 24 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Bad Tolz, Bayern, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Harold F. Busby and Frances M. B. Busby, of Gordon, New South Wales, Australia
Roll of Honour: Gordon NSW
Remembered: Panel 119, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Parramatta High School World War II Honour Roll, Parramatta NSW
Remembered: Ku-ring-gai World War II Book of Remembrance, Gordon NSW

The force assembled for the first raid on Russelsheim on 12th-13th August was composed of 287 Halifaxes and Lancasters drawn from five separate groups, the Australian contribution being 17 Lancasters from No. 463, 17 from No. 467 and 22 aircraft with RAAF captains spread among the other squadrons. There was little cloud and the main bomber stream arrived to find that ground markers had been laid on time by the pathfinders and were both plentiful and well grouped. Moderate heavy ground defences could not spoil the rhythm of attack and German fighters appeared in force only towards the end of the operation, being particularly persistent in their attacks as the gaggle of bombers streamed homewards. Despite these favourable bombing conditions only a dispersed attack developed, although some heavy explosions were reported and many fires seen.

Australian crews gave very conflicting reports at their debriefing. Some thought that bombing was concentrated, others believed it was scattered; many stated that fires were of no great magnitude, but some said that they covered the whole area. Subsequent photographs showed that there was damage only in the south-west area of the huge works and was confined mainly to storage, loading and dispatch sections; residential property to the south-east of the factory had suffered considerably and there was evidence of fires in the surrounding woods. The bomb-load expended had been some 510 tons of high explosive and 450 tons of incendiary bombs, so that as a whole the raid could not be described as having achieved great success. For this moderate result Bomber Command lost
20 aircraft including one from No. 467 and 3 piloted by Australians of Nos. 50, 102 and 622 Squadrons.

Extract from Herington, J. (John) Air War Over Europe 1944-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1963 – Page 183

On the night of 12/13th August 1944, Lancaster LM 466 took off from RAF Waterbeach at 2145 hours, detailed to bomb Russelsheim, Germany. Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. Post war it was discovered that six crew members had been killed and one had become a Prisoner of War.

The crew members of LM466 were:

Flying Officer John Harold Busby (418798) (Pilot)
Sergeant David James Clark Cosgrove (1447261) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer)
Sergeant J P C Cowan (1390683) (RAF) (Air Bomber) PoW
Flight Sergeant James Joseph William Foster (1581957) (RAFVR) Navigator)
Sergeant Herbert Charles Gardner (1801671) (RAFVR) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Sergeant Randolph Henry Charles Troake (1896554) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Sergeant George William Wilson (2213828) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)

The aircraft lost identified in Herington’s extract were No. 467 Squadron Lancaster aircraft PD 230 (Flying Officer Rodney James Mellowship (417870) (Pilot)), No. 50 Squadron Lancaster NE 135 (Flying Officer Douglas Leslie Haynes (422517) (Pilot)) and No. 102 Squadron Halifax MZ 647 (Flight Lieutenant Philip Edward Young (422825) (Pilot)).

In addition, RAAF members were lost in No. 514 Squadron Lancaster LM 215 (Pilot Officer Henry Frederick Roome (434016) (Second Pilot)), No. 578 Squadron Halifax LM 393 (Pilot Officer Owen Scott MacPhillamy MID (423850) (Pilot)) and No. 635 Squadron Lancaster ND 694 (Warrant Officer Alwyn Terence Till (410756) (Air Bomber)).


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/6/651
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line

Book Now Book Now